Theodore Wirth had a soft spot for Minneapolis songbirds. The city’s orioles, larks and sparrows were under siege when Wirth took office as parks superintendent in 1906. Public enemy No. 1? “Boys who rob birds’ nests,” according to the Minneapolis Tribune. In March 1909, Wirth ordered park police to enforce an ordinance that prohibited boys from bringing guns into city parks. The birds had a few four-legged enemies as well. About a dozen chattering red squirrels had the run of Loring Park, destroying eggs and young birds in the nest. Wirth instructed his officers to shoot the reds. To prevent neighboring reds from repopulating the park, he shipped in gray squirrels from Wichita, Kan. “Gray squirrels,” the Tribune explained, “are preferred in parks all over the country because they are easily tamed and do not interfere with birds at all.” A month later, the newspaper reported, only one red squirrel remained in Loring Park: … [Read more...] about April 27, 1909: Last red squirrel haunts Loring Park
As a Clovis police officer, John McGrory is ready to take down a bad guy at a moment’s notice. But even a no-nonsense cop like McGrory can’t pass up a moment of cuteness. That’s what happened in a video posted by the Clovis Police Department on Sunday, which was national Squirrel Appreciation Day (yes, that’s really a thing). The video shows McGrory standing next to a tree when a squirrel scampers over to him and gently takes a nut from his hand. McGrory smiles and laughs as the furry rodent scoots back to the tree. The video has 17,000 views on the police department’s Facebook page. Laura Lowdermilk of Clovis posted a one-word response: “Awwww.” Veronica Rain recognized that the video was shot in her neighborhood. “Yes, that is exactly how (the) squirrels on my street are. That is my block, an they really will let you come up to them like that, lol lol.” Clovis police spokesman Ty Wood said the video was taken in 2016 when … [Read more...] about On Squirrel Appreciation Day, we see a Clovis cop feed a rodent. The internet eats it up
A bite from a venomous centipede can cause swelling and excruciating pain. And for a mouse — even one 15 times larger than a centipede — the bite can be deadly. Most predators hunt smaller animals. Blue whales, the largest carnivores on earth, are an extreme example: Each day a whale swallows millions and millions of crustaceans called krill that are about the size of an aspirin tablet. Centipedes, though, do not abide by this rule. Researchers in Venezuela have seen centipedes skitter up cave walls to eat much heavier bats. And scientists studying centipedes in China observed a golden head centipede, weighing three grams, as it defeated a 45-gram mouse. The centipede quickly subdued its much larger prey thanks to an unusual and potent venom. “Comparison is difficult to establish among venomous animals because of their preying habit,” said Shilong Yang, an expert in venom and toxins at the Kunming Institute … [Read more...] about Centipedes eat animals 15 times their size thanks to this powerful toxin, study finds
By Joan Morris | [email protected] | Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: January 19, 2018 at 7:00 am | UPDATED: January 19, 2018 at 7:12 am DEAR JOAN: I was recently in San Diego for five days of leisure and was taken aback by the almost complete absence of birds around the Marriott Courtyard Central, where I was staying. I was wondering if you know of a counterpart to yourself in San Diego who might be more familiar with the area and be in a better position to know why this is. The cynic in me suspects chemicals used on the lawns to discourage the messiness of birds and the walking of dogs by the apartment-dwellers. My original intention was to send this to Paul Rogers, but your column on bird pee tipped the scales. Joe Coughlin, San Jose DEAR JOE: I knew that bird pee column would be to my advantage. I made some calls and did some checking, and I couldn’t find anything nefarious going on. I doubt that chemicals on the lawn or dogs patrolling the area would … [Read more...] about Is this hotel purposely driving away birds and squirrels?
Dog Gone Problems is a weekly advice column by David Codr, a dog behaviorist in Omaha. David answers dog behavior questions sent in by our readers. You can reach him at [email protected] * * * Dog Gone Problems, I have an 11-year-old dog we adopted and who we adore. I have spent a LOT of time working with him — training, agility, etc., — especially in his younger days. Then we had kids. Until about two years ago, he did not get quite as much attention. Now that my kids are older, he and I have been enjoying a lot of time together again, especially because I work from home now. Now that things have calmed down a bit, we have recently been considering adopting a second dog. Most of this has come from me. I find the training extremely rewarding, and with my first dog aging, he spends a lot of time asleep by my feet. This is great and I love that he and I are so bonded, but I also feel like there are SO many dogs with such potential out there. I have a strong … [Read more...] about Dog Gone Problems: 6 tips for helping a dog form a structured eating schedule